The Three Gables (TV episode 1994)

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The Three Gables

The Three Gables (episode No. 36) is the 1st episode of season 6 of the Granada series: Sherlock Holmes (The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes), starring Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes and Edward Hardwicke as Dr. Watson, aired on ITV on 7 march 1994. 51 min.

The episode is an adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle's short story : The Adventure of the Three Gables (1926).

Adapting The Adventure of the Three Gables was a dangerous mission, as the original story is one of Arthur Conan Doyle's least successful, particularly because of the thinness of his plot, the racism of his first scene and Holmes' incomprehensible laxity in the face of Isadora Klein's cynical crime. And then there was the health state of the Jeremy Brett. The lithium prescribed for his bipolar illness had attacked his heart and caused colossal water retention. Weak and sickly stuffed, Brett, naturally so dynamic and glamorous, was no more than a shadow of himself. Jeremy Paul, in an effort to overcome the weaknesses of the story, made the outcome acceptable, for Holmes forced the destroyer of men to break off her engagement with the Duke of Lomond, thus depriving her of the coveted man and a vertiginous social ascent. The scriptwriter also tried to flesh out and strengthen the plot, but with uneven success. The sequences, supposedly humorous, where Holmes is mistreated by Dixie or mocks a bruised Watson, are not very pleasant. Watson's gross errors, while defending Mrs. Maberley's house to introduce a little action, disappointed his admirers. And Douglas Maberley, whose role had been developed to give some emotions, was ridiculed by Gary Cady's melodramatic caricatured interpretation. On the other hand, Mrs. Hudson's apparitions are funny and touching and those of the spiritual Langdale Pike are very picturesque. Peter Hammond's images enhance the appeal of the episode. If those of the masked ball are worth above all by their luxuriant beauty, others are full of meaning, such as that of Isadora Klein wildly screaming her rage in the face of the sky or that of Holmes who, believing Watson seriously wounded, appears at Mrs Maberley's house, as dark in the backlight and as threatening as a storm cloud. Despite Brett's exhaustion, his Holmes could still be tremendously imposing.




Plot summary (spoiler)

The Three Gables episode opens with an unusual image of the great detective who was almost defenestrated by Steve Dixie. But Holmes quickly calmed the athletic black boxer, sent to Baker Street by Barney Stockdale, whose unknown sponsor hoped to dissuade the detective from interfering in Mrs. Maberley's affairs. Holmes, on the contrary, rushed to Harrow where Mrs. Maberley revealed to her that her grandson, broken by a mysterious drama, had died the previous month and that a real estate agent had offered to buy her house as expensive as she would like, as long as she sold it with its full contents. What treasure can Mrs. Maberley possess without her knowledge? Holmes charges Watson with watching over her and, suspecting that Douglas Maberley's misfortunes are caused by a woman, asks Langdale Pike, a specialist in worldly gossips, who tells her that Maberley's mistress, Isadora Klein, has brutally broken up with her, and will now marry the Duke of Lomond. But during the night, Dixie and Stockdale, thwarting Watson's surveillance, broke into Mrs. Maberley's home and tore off the object that caused the whole affair and which she had just remembered: Douglas' autobiography, which she never dared to publish as he had asked her to do when he died. She tells Holmes the last page, which she managed to save and which accuses Isadora of murder, because she had Douglas chased away by rented thugs whose blows caused the rupture of her spleen. Holmes cannot prove the guilt of the beautiful lady mercilessly, but he manages, at least, in a merciless confrontation, to force her to break with the Duke of Lomond and pay Mrs. Maberley a large sum. The adventurer will go into exile in Spain and Mary Maberley will be able to make the trip of her dreams.

  • Credits : Monique Claisse (texts), Sarah Fava (photos), Granada.